Page 1379 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2006

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Mrs Dunne: I take a point of order under standing order 118 (a). The Chief Minister is supposed to come to the subject matter, which is whether he has he received advice on reviving the Office of the Special Adviser for Mr Gilbert.

MR STANHOPE: No, Mr Speaker.


MR GENTLEMAN: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Women. Minister, could you update the Assembly on opportunities for ACT women to empower themselves, and other women, to reach their potential?

MS GALLAGHER: As members will be aware, we are currently in the middle of Fair Trade Fortnight—two weeks devoted to promoting fair trade in Australia and New Zealand—which runs from 29 April to 13 May. On Friday this week I will speak at the “meet the makers” fair trade luncheon, which has the appropriate title, “From the cocoa bean to the chocolate bar—women empowering women.” The fair trade fortnight is about publicising the fair trade initiative, which is a trading partnership that aims to promote sustainable development for excluded and disadvantaged producers. It seeks to do this by providing better trading conditions; by awareness; and by campaigning.

Throughout Australia over the last two weeks, Fair Trade Fortnight has been promoted through events including coffee, tea and chocolate tastings; display stalls; discussions; photo exhibitions; conferences and forums. Dr Foskey has already been involved in Fair Trade Fortnight. She hosted a meet the makers coffee tasting last week and has been a champion for the fair trade partnership for some time.

Women in the ACT can make a positive difference to the lives of women in Third World countries by making informed decisions about their purchases, and consider choosing and requesting fair trade products. Our choice of product can make a difference to the lives of women who are living in poverty and marginalised in global trade. Women producers comprise the majority of the work force in international trade, yet they suffer the worst labour conditions, whether in factories or on production farms. Fair trade seeks to empower these women through viable work, rather than simply through charity.

Here in the ACT we have developed the ACT women’s plan, to guide policies and programs to empower women, and we have the women’s grants program. I have announced 20 projects that will share $100,000 in funding to improve the status of women in the ACT. Projects to receive funding included a major research initiative, which will receive $14,000 to examine how victims of family and sexual violence experience fairness within the criminal justice system; a program to support isolated Muslim women to gain an ACT driver’s licence, enabling them to transport their families and other community members to essential services; and a series of workshops for young women to improve their general health and wellbeing and enhance their understanding of the causes and effects of domestic violence.

Further, last week I called for applications for the ACT women’s director scholarships program. This program is part of the ACT government’s commitment to achieving a culture of equal representation of women in senior decision-making roles. As Minister

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